Money

Here's how much grads earn 10 years after attending the best universities in America

MIT is ranked #5 in National Universities
Nick De Clercq Photography | Getty Images
MIT is ranked #5 in National Universities

After four years of rigorous academics, how are graduates from the best universities faring financially?

Using the U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard, which provides the median earnings of federally aided students 10 years after enrolling, CNBC looked at the stats for the top 10 universities in America.

While MIT graduates end up earning the biggest paychecks, the average annual cost to attend is significantly higher than other top schools. The median Princeton graduate makes about $14,000 less than the median MIT grad a decade out of school, but they also paid, on average, about a third as much to attend. So Princeton could still be the better value.

For the list below, we included the average annual cost of each school, which the U.S. Department of Education defines as "the average annual net price for federal aid recipients, after aid from the school, state, or federal government. For public schools, this is only the average cost for in-state students."

America's top 10 universities are listed, below, in ascending order of median annual earnings.

University of Chicago

University of Chicago campus
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University of Chicago campus

National University Ranking: 3 (TIE)
Average annual cost: $25,883
Median annual earnings 10 years after enrolling: $65,500

California Institute of Technology

California Institute of Technology
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California Institute of Technology

National University Ranking: 10
Average annual cost: $24,760
Median annual earnings 10 years after enrolling: $74,200

Duke University

Duke University
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Duke University

National University Ranking: 9
Average annual cost: $34,137
Median annual earnings 10 years after enrolling: $77,900

Columbia University

The campus of Columbia University in New York City
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The campus of Columbia University in New York City

National University Ranking: 5 (TIE)
Average annual cost: $21,031
Median annual earnings 10 years after enrolling: $78,200

Princeton University

Students walking to classes at Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
Barry Winiker | Getty Images
Students walking to classes at Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

National University Ranking: 1
Average annual cost: $8,848
Median annual earnings 10 years after enrolling: $80,500

University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania
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University of Pennsylvania

National University Ranking: 8
Average annual cost: $25,225
Median annual earnings 10 years after enrolling: $82,400

Yale University

Yale University campus
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Yale University campus

National University Ranking: 3 (TIE)
Average annual cost: $20,910
Median annual earnings 10 years after enrolling: $83,200

Stanford University 

Stanford University
Beck Diefenbach | Reuters
Stanford University

National University Ranking: 5 (TIE)
Average annual cost: $13,857
Median annual earnings 10 years after enrolling: $85,700

Harvard University

Harvard University
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Harvard University

National University Ranking: 2
Average annual cost: $17,882
Median annual earnings 10 years after enrolling: $90,900

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Students walk on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Yiming Chen | Getty Images
Students walk on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

National University Ranking: 5 (TIE)
Average annual cost: $22,968
Median annual earnings 10 years after enrolling: $94,200

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